WINTER Sunday mornings may mean a sleep-in for some, but not for the dozen theatre enthusiasts who are preparing for the November launch of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Singer and voice coach Emily Stocker kicked off the sessions at the University of New England with an energetic voice workshop in which participants stretched their voices and bodies with breathing exercises, stepped-out rhythms, tongue twisters and challenging vocal harmonies based on Bulgarian chants.
In the afternoon, UNE linguistics lecturer and actor Liz Ellis led an accents workshop in which the group trained their ears to listen to the variety of ways English is spoken, from Yorkshire to the American deep south.
The last was particularly relevant as the play is set in New Orleans, the home of jazz and the southern drawl.
Streetcar is a drama of great passions, pathos and ironic humour.
It tells the story of Blanche, an ageing southern belle, who moves in with her sister in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law while her reality crumbles around her.
The 1951 film version catapulted a young Marlon Brando to stardom as the tough, working class brother-in-law with bad manners and a famous yell: “Stella baby!”
The play was also the inspiration for Cate Blanchett’s 2014 film Blue Jasmine.
Directed by Gordon Cope, Streetcar stars Barbara Albury, Jan Wyles, Mark Lawless, Serena Weatherall and Jack Bedson.
Visit the website www.highcountrytheatre.com for more details on the upcoming production, which will play in Armidale in November and December.